Things are gonna change for me around here. Real soon. I’m done with being disrespected. I’m sick of being laughed at. I’m tired of being judged by passing birds. And most of all, I’ve had it up to here with being ignored by the cosmos. That all changes tomorrow.

I’m going to show all those women who dumped me. I’m going to show all those guys who always picked me last for badminton. I’m going to show all those dogs who just walked away when I tried to pet them. I’m going to show all the people who didn’t want to be friends with me just because I kept yelling at the sky. I’m going to show everyone.

I’m going to beat the shit out of the solar eclipse.

People are talking a lot of big game about this so-called “major astronomical event.” Like it’s some real hot shit or something. Like the moon and the sun converging once every few years is some big deal. Pfft, yeah, I have sex almost that often too. You’re not impressing me, eclipse.

I’m seeing all these Facebook events popping up for eclipse-watching parties. Everybody wants to be the eclipse’s friend. Well guess what? I’ve got a Facebook event for you. It’s called “Come at me, eclipse, I’ll knock your astral dick in the dirt.” Start time: the moment the edge of the punk-ass moon starts creepin’ onto that little bitch the sun. End time: after two hits; me hitting the eclipse, and the eclipse hitting the floor. The space floor.

Oh, you don’t think I can take the eclipse? You think just because it’s, like, twice the size of me I don’t stand a chance? You ever hear of a little story called David and Goliath? Yeah? Well Goliath isn’t gonna win this time. No, I’m taking that gradually-more-awe-inspiring-as-the-heavens-gloriously-align bastard down. The sun’s not gonna look so hot when you can’t even see it anymore! Because I punched it, that is. Not because it was eclipsed by the moon. Dammit, I feel like I really just muddied my point. Anyway.

How will I do it? Easy. First I’ll blend in with some regular spectators, wearing their dumbass eclipse glasses ‘cause they’re scared of it. Well I’m not. That’s when I’ll strike. I’ll pull off the stupid glasses, break them in two, and throw them in the ditch like a proud rattlesnake shedding the skin of a mighty wolf. Everyone around me will be like “whoa, who’s this cool guy? I wish he was my friend.”

Then I’ll look right at the eclipse and say something real badass, like, “hey, eclipse… time for lights out.” And we’ll stare each other down. Don’t worry, I won’t go blind. I’m tough. Besides, scientists say looking at an eclipse can destroy your retinas, and I won’t be looking at it with my retinas, I’ll be looking at it with my eyes, genius.

It’ll all be over pretty fast. Sure, the eclipse will probably get a hit or two in, but it’ll be no contest. Anyone who’s seen me practicing karate on clouds in the park knows that. And when it’s all over, and people are packing up their telescopes and microscopes and what have you, all everyone will be able to talk about will be how cool the guy is who beat the shit out of the eclipse, and how they all want to be his friend. All those stuck-up stars will be so jealous.

After word gets around the galaxy about what went down, the eclipse will think twice about showing itself around here again. And so will every other cosmic show-off. I’m looking at you, aurora borealis. You think you’re so pretty? Everybody just loves you, huh? Well I’m pretty too, you know! We’ll see who’s prettier after I kick your rippling green ass!

 

Photo by Takeshi Kuboki via flickr

WTF? Seriously, why are people creepy and evil? It is just a stream of murder and hate, a world in disarray. It has always been this way.

Young girls are constantly being objectified and used. Transgender and non binary humans live life in fear. Kids, especially black kids and other people of color, can’t walk down the street without being shot at or abducted.

“Its Death for no reason, and death for no reason is murder.”

– Morrissey

White supremacists with guns and torches are running people over in cars while a hate monger rules supreme. Mother earth is a woman in pain. Hunger is rampant and we are not allowed to be poor in public spaces.

There is no access to anything that is vital. I don’t have healthcare. Food deserts in the poorest neighborhoods. Oh yea, what about emininant war and nuclear holocaust? Heil Trump?! ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME!? NO! I have the words “FUCK NAZIS” written on my stomach from my last show. Hate has no place here.

The KKK took my baby away is now more ironic than it should be. I come from a place of privilege, I have always had food and access to education. I recently lost someone who was like a sister to me because of her racist views. We came from the same neighborhood, the East side of Buffalo.

This is devastating. I cannot be friends with someone who posts 14 Words on their Instagram. NO! Hate like this is disgusting and horrifying. You should be ashamed of yourself.

I am most sad that your children are going to be raised in hate, that isn’t fair, children are born to love and shine. I only wish that I can be a positive influence on them someday. I hope that you change, this is no way to exist. I will not go to a Black Lives Matter rally and then to a white supremacist’s birthday party.

Love is the revolution. Fighting for Peace is like Fucking for Virginity right? I don’t know what to do. I want to share vegan food with my friends, I want to pet my cats, I want to write poems, I want to make art.

I need to do all of these things with intention. Everything must be with a message, it all is political, art is life or death. We must all RISE UP together and stop this constant trend towards hate. We cannot be afraid. Together we are indestructible and that is the real wall, we will bind together in a rainbow of goodness and peace, love and pure connection, not color blindness but a celebration of diversity. I would not be me without you being you.

Stop being creepy, ask consent for everything, if she is too drunk let her sleep. Dance naked. Ride bikes naked. Recycle. Listen. Think. Sleep with musicians. Speak up. Write poetry, write your politicians, burn down the system. Ask people what their preferred pronouns are. Take into considerations other people’s cultures before you pass judgement. Kiss a dog. Plant a seed. Love uncontrollably, spread kindness not disease, bask in the joy that is being alive in this particular time and place. Make a difference. Stand up for others! When people need a friend it has to be you. This is no time to be lazy, we are all in danger. I love you, I will always love you. Don’t forget that.

* This title is a quote from my friend Valerie (photo above). She said it as I was writing this blog and I found it appropriate. She gives me hope.

Montreal Pride is upon us and with it the sights and sounds of people celebrating sexual diversity in an environment that is supposed to be safe and welcoming. Though in Canada we pride ourselves at our enlightenment on issues of sexuality and gender identity, we have still have a long way to go. Before we can move forward, we need to look at our past.

This article will look briefly at the history of LGBTQ struggles in Quebec and Canada, conduct a quick overview of current legislation, and do its best to present a picture of the status quo and what needs to be done to make our country safer and more inclusive.

During the British colonial period, homosexuality, known as “buggery” or “sodomy” was punishable by death. In 1861, the law was eased a bit and the penalty was changed to ten years to life in jail. Anti-gay laws almost always targeted men and the language of laws was kept intentionally vague in order to give huge discretion to law enforcement.

Starting in 1890, gays were generally charged with “gross indecency”, and between 1948 and 1961 changes to the Canadian Criminal Code were made, creating the categories of criminal “sexual psychopaths” and “dangerous sexual offenders”. Instead of persecuting rapists and pedophiles, the changes were disproportionately used to target gays. In addition, Canadian immigration law considered homosexuals an inadmissible class of immigrants.

The gay rights movement in Canada didn’t really gain momentum until the 1960s, when George Everett Klippert, a mechanic from the Northwest Territories, admitted that he was gay and had sex with men. In 1967 he was charged with “gross indecency” and sent to prison indefinitely as a “dangerous sexual offender”.

His conviction was sadly upheld by the Supreme Court of Canada.

While Klippert was rotting in jail, the British government opted to decriminalize certain homosexual acts. Taking a cue from our Mother Country, Pierre Elliot Trudeau, at the time Justice Minister for Prime Minister Lester Pearson, began pushing the omnibus bill, a bill that would amend the Criminal Code to decriminalize homosexual sex, legalize contraception, and increase access to abortion. When asked about it, Trudeau told the press:

“It’s bringing the laws of the land up to contemporary society I think. Take this thing on homosexuality. I think the view we take here is that there’s no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation. I think that what’s done in private between adults doesn’t concern the Criminal Code. When it becomes public this is a different matter, or when it relates to minors this is a different matter.”

The bill passed in 1969, and two years later, Everett Klippert was released from prison.

In 1977 Quebec passed its Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms, a quasi-constitutional bit of legislation and the first of its kind to openly ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Applicable to both private and public parties, the law bans discrimination in access to public spaces, contracts or refusal to enter into them, housing, and employment on the basis of many grounds including sexual orientation. The Quebec Charter also grants equal recognition, and bans harassment, and the distribution of discriminatory notices, symbols, or signs.

In 1978 Canada’s immigration laws were modified so homosexuals are no longer inadmissible.

In 1992, the ban on gays in the military was lifted. A few years later, in 1999, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that same sex couples are entitled to the same benefits and under the same obligations as opposite-sex couples for the social programs they contribute to.

In the summer of 2005, Paul Martin’s government successfully passed Bill C-38, the Law on Civil Marriage, allowing same sex couples the legal right to marry. Attempts by Conservatives to reopen the marriage debate have failed and continue to do so to this day.

Over the years the Canadian Criminal Code has evolved to include “sexual orientation and gender identity or expression” in its definition of hate crimes. The inclusion of gender identity or expression is a recent addition by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Hate crimes include public incitement of hatred, advocating genocide, and willful promotion of hatred, which carry penalties ranging from six months to five years in prison. In addition, sentencing guidelines for the courts now include the obligation to consider aggravating circumstances that could add to a sentence, including evidence that the crime was motivated by bias, prejudice or hate based on factors that include sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.

As it stands, life for Canada’s LGBTQ people is far from perfect. Many members of the LGBTQ community are still denied access to proper health care in Quebec and people are still being fired for being gay or transgender. Though the election of the orange bigot and the rise in hate crimes south of the border has bolstered support for LGBTQ groups, it has also given hatemongers in Canada the confidence to be more open in their hate.

Some Montreal institutions have to deal with homophobia in their recent past. Several groups have been calling on the City of Montreal and the Montreal Police (SPVM) to apologize for violent raids on gay clubs and parties in the 70s, 80s and 90s and just this year Projet Montreal City Councillor Richard Ryan and his party joined them. The raid on Sex Garage in 1990 was what sparked the movement that would ultimately lead to Montreal Pride.

Quebec launched initiatives in 2013 to fight homophobia, however queer people are still glared at in public for simply being themselves. Unfortunately, the one law that would firmly entrench LGBTQ rights – our constitution – still does not include protections for them, and partisan politics and the Quebec notion of us vs them where the rest of Canada is concerned will keep these protections from ever happening.

Protections for LGBTQ people are there but they could be a whole lot better.

This Pride, let’s do what the haters hate most – be out and proud and open and fabulous, while still firmly pushing for those changes Canada so desperately needs.

From tomorrow through August 20th, NDG residents, frequent visitors to the neighbourhood and even people from all over looking for something fun to do in the summer have a chance to discover more about this sprawling community in western Montreal and document what they learn on social media. It’s a scavenger hunt.

In particular, it’s the ScaveNDGers Hunt, officially part of Montreal’s 375th anniversary celebrations. ScaveNDGers is an event created and organized by Sarah Ring and Aurora Robinson, two NDG residents who are also behind another successful community-based event, PorchFest NDG, a porch-based local music festival that happens every spring.

I had a chance to speak with Ring about this very unique scavenger hunt:

FTB: Where did you get an idea for an NDG scavenger hunt? Did the success of PorchFest play a role?

Sarah Ring: The city put out a call for projects last year and the NDG Community Council (Sharon Sweeney who is the center of a lot of community-driven initiatives in NDG) reached out to a lot of people, groups, organizers to brainstorm possible projects that could get funding. So being the organizers of PorchFest got us invited to that session and I assume showed the city/board of decision-makers that we could handle the job.

It was during that session that we came up with the idea of a scavenger hunt but instead of people having to unearth certain objects (like a Rolling Stones concert ticket from 1978) we thought that people could have tasks to accomplish.

Many NDG events seem to center around Sherbrooke and Monkland, but according to your map, this event incorporates all of NDG, including below the tracks and the northern parts of the neighbourhood. Do you think this will help people discover other parts of NDG they may not visit frequently?

NDG is big and we thought it would be a great opportunity for people to discover other parts of their hood. If you live in the Monkland Village, how often do you go to St-Raymond or Westhaven? Both Aurora and I live in the western part of NDG (Loyola) and it often gets neglected.

A lot of the action is concentrated around NDG/Girouard Park though Arts Week is finally moving west with Sunset on Somerled – a great initiative! There is so much diversity in NDG that some might not know about- conversely, there are a lot of cultural communities that might not be familiar with the history of NDG- this seemed like a great way to bring people of all walks of life and demographics together to make new discoveries – be it people, places, architecture, knowledge.

In this sense the community has been an integral and invaluable part of the project- from its conception, to preparation (Jason Wasserman, an NDGer who did our graphics, was in En Masse) to where we buy our supplies, and translation services to the content of the tasks, and now the participants – though it’s open to everyone not just NDGers. Our focus has all been on the neighborhood and utilizing what great resources we have here locally – you know, by the people for the people!

3. As this is an event for all ages with a strong learning component, albeit a fun one, how much of what is there to be discovered will be fresh knowledge even for adults who have lived in NDG for years in addition to being discoveries for the kids?

For sure some of the clues and facts will be known to some – that’s inevitable. There is a FB group dedicated to NDG bygone eras who have a much richer acquaintance with the past than we do. But a lot of our tasks involve getting participants to do something related to a community service (which people might not know about) or create some public art or record a story. In this sense, participants are creating new knowledge about the neighborhood that will be novel to everyone – recently arrived residents and the old timers alike.

All the images, videos (data) will be archived and preserved. So yes, some facts will not be new to some but all the teams’ results (we have about 60 teams so far!) will generate deep and meaningful connections that will outlast the project. That’s really exciting for us!

If you’re excited, too, or just a bit curious, you can sign up before August 13th at tresorsndg.com to get started

This past July, the town of Saint-Apollinaire voted against allowing their small Muslim community a space to bury their dead. In response, Quebec City has generously offered land for the building of an Islamic Cemetery.

This article is not about Saint-Apollinaire or Quebec’s obnoxious denial of its racism problem.

It’s about death, and how we deal with what’s left of the people we know.

Though we’re all affected by it, death and its technicalities are things we just don’t talk about…

…That is until someone we know dies.

When a loved one dies we do our best to make sure the person gets what they would have wanted. The late comedian George Carlin joked about wanting to be dropped from a plane and left wherever he landed even if it was the mayor’s lawn. Unfortunately, though we’d like to fulfill the wishes of even our most eccentric friends and relatives, the province of Quebec has rules about how a body can be disposed of after death.

The rules come primarily from Quebec’s Burial Act and the Act Respecting Medical Laboratories, Organ and Tissue Conservation, and the Disposal of Human Bodies and related regulations. Generally there are two common ways a body can be put to rest after death, burial and cremation, so this article will focus on those.

The law says that burials have to take place “in a cemetery lawfully established, except in cases otherwise provided by the law”. That means that if your uncle, for example, wanted to be buried at your family’s cottage, he couldn’t unless the land was a cemetery. This is undoubtedly to avoid any dispute as to what should be done with human remains should a property be sold or expropriated.

Cemeteries, it should be noted, are considered private property, and the land is at the disposal of the physical or legal person who owns it, subject to any restrictions imposed as a result of someone buying a burial plot on said land.

In cases not otherwise specified, coffins must be placed in a grave and covered with at least a meter of earth, but the Minister of Health and Social Services who is charged with the enforcement of said acts can make exceptions for special cases.

Burials cannot take place in a church or chapel currently used for religious purposes without the consent of the ecclesiastical or diocesan authority of the religious group who owns the space. In cases where such authority grants this permission, the law requires that the body be placed in a coffin with 2.5 kg of quick-lime or lime chloride and covered with at least 1.25 meters of earth or enclosed in masonry at least forty five centimeters thick. The quick-lime is likely required to neutralize the odor and speed decay.

Cremations can only be done by the holder of a funeral director’s permit allowing him or her to perform them. Crematoriums must be equipped and operated so as to prevent any risk of contamination and avoid to pollution. The law specifies that said crematoriums must have a firebrick oven “kept in good working order at all times”. If the funeral home has a columbarium – a place to keep urns of ashes – it has to be fireproof.

Though the government has its own rules, the faiths of the deceased come into play when deciding how to treat the remains. For the purposes of this article, I will do a crash course on the rules of the three most common Abrahamic faiths in Montreal: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. As there are so many sects of Christianity, I’ll focus primarily on Catholicism. Apologies to anyone who is outraged (though houses of worship shouldn’t permit trolls).

Judaism requires that a body be buried immediately after passing, or at most, the following day as the belief is that the soul remains in turmoil until burial. The body must be buried complete: with all its limbs and organs.

Islamic practices are a bit trickier as they vary according to interpretations of Islamic law, but there are a few common customs. As in Judaism, Muslims are buried and burials must take place as soon as possible after death, historically because in the days of poorer hygiene an unburied corpse posed a sanitation risk. If the death was not from natural causes i.e. assassination or freak accident, a burial can be delayed to determine cause of death.

Catholicism permits both burial and cremation, though in 2016 the Vatican issued new rules regarding how remains should be dealt with. At the end of October of that year, they said that ashes and bone fragments cannot be kept at home or divided among relatives as mementos as it deprives community of their right to respect the dead. They declared that Church authorities should designate special spaces such as cemeteries or church areas to hold them. Only in special cases can a bishop permit an individual to keep remains at home. Unlike Judaism and Islam, there is no time requirement as to when to bury or cremate the body. If for whatever reason as per canon law, a person cannot be buried in a Catholic cemetery, the law allows the person to be buried in designated ground adjacent to said cemetery.

If someone is not religious, their remains can be dealt with as they or their families wish subject to the confines of the law. Last summer, Quebec approved the practice of Aquamations, an eco friendly alternative to cremation that involves using a water based solution to dissolve the body, leaving the bones which are then pressed into powder. With its increasing popularity, many Quebec funeral homes are getting on the enviro safe bandwagon.

The act of putting our dead to rest has been a custom for thousands of years. It not only allows us to pay our last respects to those we knew, but also keeps the inevitable result of human death and decay from becoming a sanitation risk.

On July 24th, 2017, the verdict many Canadians had long been waiting for finally happened. Winston Blackmore, leader of the fundamentalist Mormon sect in Bountiful BC and a Bishop of the Community, James Oler, were found guilty of polygamy.

After the verdict was read, Blackmore said publicly that:

“I’m guilty of living my religion and that’s all I’m saying today because I’ve never denied that.”

This article isn’t about Winston Blackmore or the despicable acts of pedophilia and misogyny – with girls as young as fifteen pressed into plural marriages and by extension sexual relationships with men often old enough to be their grandfathers – masquerading as religion within the confines of the Bountiful community. It is not about the fact that those outside the community who defend Blackmore under the guise of religious freedom are likely either misogynists, pedophiles, or both.

This article is about polygamy and polygyny.

Before we begin, we have to define our terms as words like polygamy, polyandry, polyamory and polygyny often get confused.

Polygamy is the practice of having more than one wife or husband at the same time.

Polyandry is the practice in which a woman has more than one husband.

Polyamory is the practice of pursuing one or more romantic relationships at the same time.

Polygyny, which is by far the most common, is the practice in which one man takes multiple wives.

Though polygamy is illegal as per the Canadian Criminal Code, the law typically only comes into play in cases of polygyny.

The provision against polygamy can be found in section 293 of the Canadian Criminal Code which says that:

(1) Every one who

(a) practises or enters into or in any manner agrees or consents to practise or enter into

  • (i) any form of polygamy, or
  • (ii) any kind of conjugal union with more than one person at the same time,
    whether or not it is by law recognized as a binding form of marriage, or

(b) celebrates, assists or is a party to a rite, ceremony, contract or consent that purports to sanction a relationship mentioned in subparagraph (a)(i) or (ii),

is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years.

In addition to making polygamy an indictable offense, the law limits what kinds of defenses can be used against such a charge. The law says that proof of consent to a polygamous marriage is inadmissible as evidence as is proof that the marriage was entered into for the purpose of having sex.

The law also provides that participating in a marriage knowing that the other party is getting married against their will is liable to the same five year penalty as for polygamy, as is participating in a marriage with a party under the age of sixteen, something that comes into play a lot in Bountiful as many of the girls pressed into marriage are as young as fifteen. People who solemnize the marriage in violation of the law could face a two year prison term.

In an attempt to save themselves from prosecution, the heads of Bountiful BC brought their demand to practice polygyny to the Supreme Court of British Columbia. They did so under the guise of religious freedom, as their sect of Mormonism – the mainstream Mormon Church has disowned them and their twin, the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints in the US – believes that in order to get into heaven, a man has to have at least three wives.

The case they brought is called a Reference case, in which you can ask the court to give their opinion on a legal issue. The federal government, for example, has used reference cases to decide issues like the terms by which Quebec can separate from Canada.

In 2011 the Supreme Court of British Columbia decided in favor of keeping Canada’s anti polygamy laws on the grounds that society was better served by keeping these laws in place despite their violation of religious freedom. In their decision, the courts looked at the documented consequences of polygyny which included:

  • Increase in crime rates, as the demand for more wives for a small handful of men would result in most women going into marriages with high status men. The result would be a large pool of low status unmated men whom studies confirm commit more crime.
  • Decreased male parental investment as men having so many wives and so many children have less time to spend with each child.
  • Exacerbated gender gap and decreased age of marriage as the demand for more wives drives the age of marriage down and the desire of polygynous husbands to ensure the paternity of their children within said unions leads to the curtailing of the freedoms of women and girls.

There is also the notion that polygyny hurts the economy as women stuck in plural marriages are often so busy having children or stuck in situations where their movements are controlled and as a result many don’t work. Without a job, there is no income and when women have no income, they cannot spend and consume, and consumption is what fuels the economy.

That said, there are factors that the court failed to consider, such as that polygyny increases the likelihood of the negative consequences of inbreeding. As communities tend to be closed, polygynous unions ultimately result in everyone being genetically related to everyone and cousins marrying one another. The result, as can be seen in the case of Short Creek on the Utah/Arizona border in the United States, is the increased likelihood of genetic defects in offspring.

Historically polygyny was used to secure power and make sure that women had someone to care for them when men were scarce. Today it’s a way for perverted old men to abuse girls and women under the guise religiously ordained rights. Canada’s polygamy laws exist to protect half the population from men like these.

Let’s keep it that way.

I am always the big spoon, it doesn’t matter if the person is bigger than me or not, I just seem to fade into that position naturally. This is where the awkward arm comes into play. Most of the time big spoon is by choice, because I am physically bigger than the person, if I was the little spoon they would be my little sweet jet pack.

You know that feeling that you just want to chop your arm off because you can’t figure out where to put it while cuddling? The dead arm struggle is real. If you put it under their head blood flow is cut off and it goes numb, not to mention how uncomfortable it feels for your partner to have this giant jutting tree trunk of an arm arm under their neck.

No matter where you stick it the arm feels weird. You just want to drift off into snuggly heaven with your love and all you can do is think about the dead cold ARM. This causes distraction and movement. Disruption in the third degree. Then wait till one of you has to pee. Finally all is right in the world, you are drifted off to sleep with your love pulled in close, both comfortable, then it comes. The sensation that Niagara Falls is about to burst from your bladder through your crotch.

No matter how hard you try they won’t wake up gently. You throw them off of you in a fit of panic. Well I would have peed on you otherwise baby. Not in a sexy golden showers way either.

I am a sweaty betty, so cuddling with me is gonna get wet. I try to not stick their head right in my gloriously stinky armpit. I love being a sweaty swamp creature from the Black Lagoon with someone, smushing our weird wet, sexed, bodies together. Getting all slip and slide in the bed.

I know a man who kept dating a woman he didn’t even like for the remainder of a hot summer just because she had air conditioning. Cuddling is a crazy thing. Sleeping next to your partner is so intimate, it separates real relationships from one night stands who dip out in the night.

Even the best technique is still flawed, it must involve a fluffy pillow in-between arm and head meat. The arm takes longer to die, but it will happen eventually. Usually it gets numb as soon as your sweetie is out like an angel.

You feel like an asshole for moving it, but you don’t want to see the alternative. Sometimes I will try to just stick my arm out the back into outer space, but that also feels weird.

Were humans actually made to cuddle like this? I mean, sure, it is incredible to have physical intimacy beyond sex. There is no greater feeling than knowing someone wants to squish their naked body up against yours and fall asleep. To feel absolutely safe in someone’s arms is priceless. But why the forever awkward appendage?

There is a special pillow called the Armadillow with very mixed reviews that has a tunnel in it for the arm, but sadly since it is still rigid and you have to keep your arm in the 45 degree tunnel it still gets ouchie. I have imagined cutting a hole in my bed and sticking it in there too. I wonder if this would do it.

There is also a Cuddle-Mattress that is made with slats in it for better cuddling. The inventor unsuccessfully attempted to crowd source it.

Do I just stick it up in the air? There is no way it can stay under her like that. The pins! The needles! The pure non-sexy agony! I just will have to cut it off.

Should I just get a crazy interchangeable prosthetic where one day I have a chainsaw arm, then its dildo, then its a cake mixer, then its a claw or an OG hook? Wouldn’t I look incredible with a fucking hook? Yes, the answer is YES!

Just suck it up and deal with the dead arm and cuddle the shit out of the one(s) you adore. At the end of the day its not the worst problem to have because that means someone wants to hold you back. Nothing is perfect and together you will figure out where the arm goes.

I am the type of person that has a lot of irrational fear. I am afraid of things going too fast, I am afraid of letting go. I don’t know if I have ever really had an orgasm or truly allowed myself to be vulnerable. I am a loner desperately trying to love life and experience everything, but rarely take the necessary chances.

Well, I did something spontaneous. I got in a car with my friend and his dog and drove across the United States in four days. I have always wanted to do the road trip to California, but I had a romantic image of doing it with a lover.

I wanted someone to want to see the world with me, I wanted someone to want to be confined in a car with me. I was sick of watching everyone else go, waiting my whole life for a moment to arrive. I came to the realization that if I waited any longer I would never do it.

Regret is not part of my vocabulary. Nothing is ever going to work out as planned because we have no idea about the minute details that can change with the flutter of a butterfly’s wings.

You can’t wait for the perfect person or the right situation to come along, you just have to work with the cards you are dealt and make your own path in life. Find happiness in your own heart and do good things for others. Get in the car, take the leap, it will always be worth it.

I only had one week. The final destination was never the main attraction. Last year I went to the West Coast for the first time to go to the Burger Boogaloo (a punk music and art fest in Oakland). This year I was offered a free ticket from a beautiful person. How could I give up the chance to see Iggy Pop for the first time in my life? Now that Bowie is passed I can’t miss Iggy. I also had the hopes of meeting John Waters.

Of course I didn’t meet John, that elusive bastard. Iggy Pop was fantastic, he has never changed, still rocking, made of leather, pickled by drugs, partied to the pit, hardened by rock and roll. John Waters proclaimed that he was a god.

It was exactly what I expected, but still left me with a strange emptiness. I remember the first time I ever heard the Stooges. Your Pretty Face is Going to Hell will always remind me of a time when I was young and beautiful, but so unsure that I missed out.

I was in a dive bar with my crush who had a punk rock soul and the most beautiful baby blues I have ever seen. I guess a part of me thought that if I saw Iggy live I would finally find something I have been looking for all of these years.

Now I watch a beautiful tattooed woman crawl on all fours to try and sneak up close, and then he ironically opens with I Want to Be Your Dog on the Butt City stage, his skinny greased shirtless body writhing between quirky inflatable characters with luscious asses. 

People pay rockstars to be confident. Society worships those who are sure of themselves and don’t give a fuck. Art has no apology, it is god.

“Nobody understands me, I’m really sensitive. Everyone thinks I should be so happy, fucking all these chicks, and all the drugs and being a star. But I hurt. And I’m lonely.” – Iggy Pop on being famous.

I think about my life as a performer, attempting shock and awe. Will I ever be as shocking as Iggy Pop with a jar of peanut butter? Will I ever be a household name? There is still heartache in the stars.

I wonder who Iggy sold his soul to for survival? My soul is not for sale. I will not become hardened leather, I will get softer with age.

I have always been living what I thought I needed to find all along. Fear and insecurity hold us all back too often. Everyone is flawed and everyone is perfect. The journey was always the important part. Proving to myself that I was strong without my “missing” soulmate. I am my own soulmate, my lover is adventure, my partner is the great unknown.

It was fun googling weed laws in each state that we drove through, just to see if we could drive recklessly with joints in our mouth. Blazing through the desert without a care in the world. I loved driving through the whole state, seeing the “Welcome to Arkansas” sign and then being welcomed to the next state.

It was addicting and inspiring. I was doing something that was just a dream before this. I don’t follow though on a lot of my dreams. I have never lived anywhere but Buffalo and I am very naive in so many ways.

I would have to say my favorite part of the trip was at a moment where I was being bitchy and tired, we were heading through Arizona, about to go into Nevada and I didn’t want to drive but continued on as my friend slept.

We had chosen Death Valley as a destination for this night. It was half way to San Francisco and had the best view of stars. Then I saw the twinkling lights of Vegas in the distance and knew I needed to shut the fuck up and keep driving.

I stopped at a truck stop and accidentally peed on my feet in a field of truckers. It was so sketchy and timeless. Kimya Dawson soothed my soul as we plotted on into the abyss. We pulled into Death Valley National Park at about 1 am. A wrong turn brought us to some tourists (country of origin unknown) who had gotten their rental car stuck in the sand (much in the same way I have been stuck in the snow). They were having a much worse day than I was.

It was 100 degrees Farainheit at night, you could die there during the day it gets so hot. (I laugh because the US is still behind the times and not using the metric system).

We just put a blanket out, set up camp, and I remember falling asleep watching the second most amount of shooting stars I had ever seen. The first was when I was laying in Lake Erie, naked, with some beautiful women during a meteor shower, that was magical. This was also magic.

I was in the hottest part of the desert on a summer night, I was far out of my comfort zone and there was no cuddling up to my cats or hugging my mom for a safety net. Watching stars dance and twinkle, looking at constellations I didn’t know the names of.

Whenever I see a shooting star I wish for love. I do not know what that love looks like, but I will know it when I feel it. Love is waking up in the morning, the mountainous glory revealed, and indulging in a nude photo shoot in the desert.

Love is finding the perfect gross punk bar, love is kissing vegan girls, love is musicians who look you in the eyes and undress you with their sweet serenade, love is ending up naked on a basement floor in a warehouse in the Mission in the shadow of a Ghost Ship. A gypsy from Poughkeepsie. Love is smoking a medicinal joint in a park while a banjo plays behind you and two girls casually smoke a bong on a decorative blanket. I search the world for a feeling. Maybe I have met her 20 times before.

She kissed me and I wanted to hold her, she bit my lip and I bit her inner thigh. She held me under the same stars just in a different place. On a roof in my hometown, the stars were clouded by light pollution, I have been clouded. I have been so lost that the only way to find myself is to go. Go anywhere, just get in the car and run from all the abstract illness that has been constraining me.

The breeze was refreshing and my toes stuck out the bottom. She held me tenderly under the thin hole punched blanket, and I felt so safe. It was easy and I didn’t need to guess how she felt. The familiar scent of bonfire burning made me happy to be home. Open to whatever possibility that may bloom in the warm sun. Water and cultivate to exist in happiness.

Let yourself try things and you will end up in the right nooks, on the right roofs, and always under the same stars.

The liberal democratic criminal justice system is founded on the notion that people are innocent until proven guilty, no one gets imprisoned without just cause, and that everyone accused of a crime is entitled to a fair and speedy trial. That said, sometimes the justice system is not so just. Sometimes you get a racist or misogynist judge, and sometimes it takes so long for your case to actually go to trial that you are stuck in pre-trial detention.

We are going to discuss the latter problem.

The Quebec Justice System is suffering from a backlog, and it has been suffering from this backlog for over a year now. It is so problematic that some suspected criminals are walking free, while innocents rot in jail awaiting their trials.

In November 2016 four accused drug traffickers, one of which was Richard Hudon, a founding member of the Quebec Hells Angels, got a stay of proceedings because they had to wait over sixty months for their case to go to trial.

A stay of proceedings can be granted if an accused convinces the court that putting them on trial would be an “abuse of process” that would violate principles of fundamental justice guaranteed by our constitution. The effect of such stays is that the case may never be prosecuted, will never go to trial. This allowing the accused to walk free.

It is therefore only granted in cases of severe abuse. An excessive wait time for your trial can be a violation of your constitutional rights but fortunately, once a problem is recognized, the judicial system which is ever evolving gets to work trying to fix it.

The system got started in the summer of 2016 with the Supreme Court ruling in R v. Jordan.

Jordan was arrested in 2008 for his participation in a dial-a-dope operation in BC in which customers could call and order drugs delivered. Jordan spent two months in jail awaiting his trial, and another four years under restrictive bail conditions while awaiting trial.

In the Jordan case, the Supreme Court was asked to properly define section 11 (b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms which says that “Any person charged with an offence has the right…(b) to be tried within a reasonable time”. The Supreme Court came up with the following rules:

  • Criminal trials in Provincial Court must be completed in eighteen months but that increases to thirty months if said trial was preceded by a preliminary inquiry
  • For cases to be heard in Superior Court, trials must be completed in thirty months
  • In cases where there is a claim that a trial occurring within this limit is deemed unreasonable, it’s up to the defense to prove it
  • If the trial takes longer to conclude than the eighteen or thirty month limit it presumed to be an unreasonable delay it’s up to the Crown (the prosecution) to prove otherwise

That said, Quebec and other provincial governments are under a lot of pressure to meet the Supreme Court’s criteria and make sure criminal trials are concluded more quickly.

The Quebec government and Provincial Justice Minister Stéphanie Vallée have been working to curb the delays.

In December 2016, the government announced that they were going to inject a hundred and seventy-five million dollars into the justice system over a period of four years in order to hire more judges, prosecutors, and support staff. They’re also launching an eighteen month pilot project to make lesser offenses non judicial with the plan of using community service instead of incarceration for offenders. In addition, on June 21, 2017, Justice Minister Vallée announced the hiring of twenty legal aid lawyers and support staff to deal with the backlog.

But Quebec cannot deal with the backlog alone.

Superior Court judges are needed to facilitate more trials, and Quebec is calling on the federal government to help. Unlike Provincial Court judges which are appointed by the provincial government, only the federal government can appoint them judges to the Superior Court. Quebec is asking for the appointment of ten new judges and the sooner they are hired, the easier it will be to address the backlog.

In the Jordan case the Supreme Court said that “The ability to provide fair trials within a reasonable time is an indicator of the health and proper functioning of the system itself.” Until the backlog is fully dealt with, we can safely say that our justice system is suffering from poor health. Fortunately, it’s a problem our governments are ready and willing to fix.

Let the healing begin.

* Featured image: the Quebec Court of Appeals in Montreal, via WikiMedia Commons

 

I took a walk in the park today, there are sprawling mounds that used to be a landfill right by the lake. Today is so sunny, beautiful breeze, blissful.

I was alone, my floral maxi dress blowing around (and I wasn’t wearing underwear). There was an older man walking behind me and another man walking in front. Three politely spaced humans strolling on the same path. Respect during a time where rape culture reigns supreme. A girl alone should be afraid of meeting a man on a path. Right?

We all kept the same pace. When we are farther away from another person (especially a stranger), we feel a degree of safety from them. There are social rules about personal space and proximity to others. A distant person cannot just attack us out of the blue. If we feel threatened there is time to run or fight. We contemplate ways to escape or think about how loud we can yell, will anyone hear? Will they care? Would FIRE work better than RAPE?!

As a woman I know I am slightly less intimidating to someone. A large man walking behind you will raise a larger red flag. You assume his intentions are to rob and rape you, leaving you fighting for life in an ally. It’s just stereotypes, but we are programmed to be afraid.

It does happen. People get robbed and raped every 10 minutes. Thinking about this makes people get irrational, this is when their racist and sexist nature comes to a head. I picture women clutching their purses in fear. My mom was mugged several times.

That’s why I wear a fanny pack, so I can be slightly more fearless. I don’t judge people by their looks either. The most unassuming person can be a huge scumbag with a gun. I know plenty of giant men who are sweethearts that wouldn’t hurt a fly too.

Instinct tells me to be on guard, the unknown is scary, but I don’t have to run for the hills either. I need to climb them and rise above. I always say hello to everyone I encounter and make eye contact. Ensuring them that “I see you” and I will remember you in a lineup. I remember everything, small minute details forgotten by time’s mistress.

The man in front had a stride that I recall, his hair flowing in the breeze like a god. I am glad I saw his face because he looked just like someone I used to love. Symbolic of all that I am trying to move past, he was a hill ahead of me. “You” were in my thoughts again, as usual. This time I didn’t start it.

I waited on my hill so he could have his time as the king of the mountain (I mean, that’s why I was there).

I couldn’t face him-the man that looked a lot like you from behind. I wish it was you and that we were on the same hill. I stand here on my own hill with my hands in the air, standing on the rocks, alone.

My heart is like my whiskey, strong, and also on the rocks. You are a siren, coaxing me to my demise. I came here to be free of all worry and am faced with an uncanny doppelgänger. I wonder why fate plays such tricks on us?

The other man wearing a fedora took a different path, into the dark serenity of the woods and away from the gleaming hills. Down that way is some graffiti I did the day Prince died. Now I stand here, watching the symphony of grass blades, deer paths and discarded Natty Ice cans. A moving painting.

Am I the only one who writes poetry in my head while I meander through luxurious fields? It looks like an acid flashback, but more subtle. I like to be high in high places, looking down at the world below. I am not afraid of heights as long as I am on something solid. I am more afraid of falling in love than a perilous drop into the unknown. If you survive, bones heal, but the heart never truly recovers from a break.

Symbolic-You abandoned the mound, finally, it was time for me to mosey away. Sunset was nearing, it is the summer solstice, longest day of the year. More time in the stunning brightness to contemplate all the things.

I made the climb to the top and it was glorious. I was finally king of the mountain. On top of the world, standing on the rocks with arms stretched to the sky, wind blowing my hair and dress, I felt in that moment I could live forever. Then I noticed someone standing on the other hill, waiting for me to be done too, so I moved on like all the others before me.

I wonder if I looked like someone he once loved?

Land lines are a dead technology.

People are increasingly realizing that it’s more practical to carry a phone with you all the time than to rush home agonizing over whether or not you missed an important call. With the proliferation of the mobile phone came the spread of providers competing for your business and until recently, companies have been taking advantage.

In 2013, that all changed when the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), a federal administrative tribunal responsible for regulating and supervising broadcasting and telecommunications, created the Wireless Code of Conduct which explains your rights as a mobile consumer and the rules your wireless company must obey.

On June 15, 2017, the CRTC came out with new rules specifying the obligations set out in the Wireless Code of Conduct.

Here’s a crash course on the Wireless Code and what those rules are.

Your wireless service provider must communicate with you in plain language. Written contracts and any related documents such as privacy and fair use policies must be written in a way that is clear and easy to read and understand. That means that they cannot draft contracts and related documents in a way that would dupe you into agreeing to something most wouldn’t have had they fully understood it.

The terms of your contract regarding voice, text, and data services cannot be unilaterally changed without the account holder’s consent. You are allowed to cancel your wireless contract within fifteen days and return your device to the provider in near-new condition at no cost, provided that at the time of the cancellation you used less than half of your monthly usage limits.

Wireless providers have to set out the prices in the contract and specify if they include taxes. They cannot charge you extra if you purchased a plan with unlimited services and they cannot limit an unlimited plan unless the fair use policy clearly specifies when they can and those conditions are met.

Your wireless provider must notify you at no charge when your device is in another country and clearly explain the ensuing rates for talk, text, and data. You can opt out of these notifications at any time. They cannot charge you more than a hundred dollars per monthly billing cycle for data roaming unless you have clearly given prior consent, and this billing cap must come at no charge to you, the consumer.

For data overage charges – data used over your data plan’s limit – the rules set the cap at fifty dollars unless you expressly consented to paying more. This cap cannot come at any charge to you.

Where family or group plans are concerned, these caps apply on a per-account basis regardless of how many devices are attached to the plan.

No More Locked Devices

Your wireless company cannot charge you for any device or service you did not expressly purchase, and as of June 15, 2017, unlocking fees are now illegal.

The aforementioned fees are what cell phone companies would charge to unlock your phone should you try decide to switch wireless providers. That means that before the CRTC’s decision, if you chose to switch wireless providers, you couldn’t just swap out the sim cards and keep using your current device. You would have to pay your old company a fee to unlock your phone.

Wireless providers justified the charges as a way of ensuring the device was paid for should the consumer decide to switch providers before the end of their contract. The CRTC has decided that this is illegal as it puts an unfair limit on competition between wireless providers.

As per the CRTC’s ruling as of December 1, 2017 you have the right to go to your wireless provider and have your devices unlocked free of charge. Any new devices you get must be provided to you unlocked from now on.

If your device is lost or stolen and you notify your wireless company immediately, your wireless provider must suspend your service at no charge. You’re still obligated to pay any charges incurred before the company got notice that the device was lost or stolen, the monthly fee, and if you choose the cancel the contract, any cancellation fee. If you find your device or replace it, you can notify your service provider who has to restore your service free of charge.

If you decide to cancel your contract early, the company can only charge you a cancellation fee. No other penalties apply and wireless companies have to calculate the cancellation fee based on criteria set out in the Wireless Code of Conduct. You can cancel your contract at any time by notifying your service provider.

Penalties for the Providers

Now let’s say your wireless provider does not obey the Wireless Code; what do you do? What kinds of penalties will the company face?

If your Wireless Service Provider does not respect the Wireless Code, you can file a complaint with the Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunications Services, which is charged with administering it. If the complaint falls within their mandate, they’ll get in touch with your provider and ask them to try and resolve the matter with you and get back to them in thirty days.

Once the provider gets back to them, they’ll try and assess if the issue has been resolved to your satisfaction. If it hasn’t, the Commissioner will assess if the issue can be resolved informally. Your complaint can be rejected or dismissed at any stage of the proceedings.

If the Commissioner decides your complaint has merits, they can recommend that your provider take action or refrain from doing so. This can include anything from an apology to stopping collections activity, to compensating you up to five thousand dollars for any losses or inconvenience suffered.

Both you and your wireless provider can decide whether to accept or reject the recommendation. If your provider rejects it, the Commissioner will assess the reasons and make a decision as to whether to maintain or modify their recommendation. If the decision is accepted by you, it becomes binding on your service provider. If you reject the Commissioner’s decision, your service provider does not have to obey it.

It’s not an ideal solution, as it’s a long process to try and get fairness from wireless providers all too ready and willing to take advantage of consumer naivete, but at least there are checks in place.

A cell phone is a modern necessity. Don’t get screwed by the providers.

* Featured image by John Fingas via Flickr Creative Commons

When people call me Marilyn Monroe I know that is a compliment
I respond by farting or hiding behind a mustache
I see my skin
Over fat
Straw hair
Scared Cat

I was drunk and fucked up in a hotel once.
I looked in the mirror
And knew it was true blonde martyr moment

I smile big regardless
It has made me good at customer service
I assure you its genuine
Like the bleach in my chalice
This one is for you!
Ever sip closer to perfection

Would the comparison even be made if I were brunette?
Norma Gene was a brunette
My roots are the dirtiest shade of dark blonde
Ambition

But does that mean I’m going to die naked drugged out at the hands of a corrupt president on the path of his own final destination?
Yes
Sounds pretty accurate actually
I relate more to chubby sweatpants Anna Nicole Smith
Besides the elderly husband and obsession with money thing
I need no ring

I hate the whole dumb blonde thing
I actuality did really well in school

Now I am the degenerate scum

Smoking blunts on a trampoline
Riding bikes with teenagers on acid
Standing a top Niagara Falls
Water that would rip my skin off
My body would grow flaccid
Under the waves

On the rocks
I keep falling for cocks
That are obsessed with skinny brunettes
Not buxom blondes
They tell me about it like I can help them get into her panties
Get off my lawn bro
Just go!

I keep falling for rockstars
That are scared of my shine
I am fine
My heart is all mine

 

I will never lose my name
She was married 3 times
But the only one that got her to change her name was the mistress of fame
She won at that

Everyone knows who she is
Iconic
I have shirts and leggings with her face on them
She has more drag queens paying homage per capita than any other celebritant

At what cost?
She did not get the chance to grow old
Decrepit
Intrepid dust
I feel its lust

I don’t want to grow old but its creeping in like a storm
That has been on the radar since the day I was born
It is inevitable that I will be carried away in the cyclone
The cycle of humanity

Free pass for the prettiest ones
Golden child
Free of earthly holds
Loss, love, and lack of communication
Body folds

The photo taken of just her ass

While singing “Happy Birthday Mr. President”

 

 

At the end of May it came to light that Karla Homolka, the Barbie of the Ken and Barbie Killers, was volunteering at her kids’ elementary school in NDG. Outrage erupted with some saying that Homolka was entitled to her privacy at least for her children’s sake, while others said that the nature of her past crimes should disqualify her from ever being around children.

For those of you unfamiliar with Homolka’s story, Karla and her husband Paul Bernardo went on a rape, torture, and murder spree in the early nineties. Her victims were all underage girls – Leslie Mahaffy, age 14, Kristen French, age 15, and Tammy Homolka, Karla’s own sister, age 15. Karla and her husband were eventually caught in 1993 and in exchange for a plea deal, she sold out her husband who is now serving life without parole.

In order to get this plea deal, she had to rat on Bernardo and convince the prosecution that she was a hapless pawn in his plan to rape, torture, and kill. Some time after the deal was struck a tape surfaced of the crimes demonstrating that Homolka was not only not a victim of Bernardo, but was a willing participant in the crimes.

She was released from prison in 2005.

This article is not just about Karla Homolka, though there should be no question that while her kids are certainly entitled to their privacy, she who raped, tortured, and murdered three girls should never be trusted around other people’s children.

This article is about our parole system.

Parole is a kind of conditional release from prison in which an offender can serve out the remainder of their sentence in the community.

The rules regarding parole in Canada are governed primarily by the Corrections and Conditional Release Act and the Canadian Criminal Code. The purpose of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act is to ensure that prisons are safe and humane and by assisting in the rehabilitation and reintegration of offenders so they can become law-abiding citizens.

The Act’s section on parole starts with reiterating that the purpose of any kind of conditional release is to ensure a just and safe society by making the best decisions regarding the timing and condition of release in a way that will best suit this purpose and the goal of rehabilitation.

The Parole Board of Canada (PBC) is the federal body with almost exclusive authority to grant parole. The Act allows for provinces to set up their own parole boards for offenders sentenced to two years or less, though only Quebec and Ontario currently have them.

The PBC can not only grant parole, but can also revoke it, or cancel a decision to grant it.

The Parole Board has to base their decision to grant parole on several factors including “the nature and gravity of the offence, the degree of responsibility of the offender, information from the trial or sentencing process and information obtained from victims, offenders and other components of the criminal justice system, including assessments provided by correctional authorities.”

Their decisions also have to be consistent with the protection of society.

Parole is granted only if the Board is convinced an offender will not pose a risk to society by re-offending if released from prison before their sentence is up, and if the release of said offender will actually facilitate the protection of society via their rehabilitation into a law-abiding citizen.

There are two types of parole in Canada.

Full parole means a person can finish out their sentence in society provided they obey certain conditions designed to keep them from re-offending and report regularly to a parole officer. Offenders in Canada automatically become eligible for parole by serving one third of their custodial sentence, with the exception of those sentenced to life without parole. Those offenders are only eligible after a number of years specified in their sentence.

Day parole means an offender can work or participate in community activities but have to go back to prison or a sort of residence at night. As per the act, an offender is typically eligible for day parole when they reach the date of eligibility for full parole.

Once a person is released and have completed their parole, they can theoretically get on with their lives, but that’s not as easy as it seems. Ex-cons often have difficulty reintegrating into society, and these difficulties often lead to recidivism. Fortunately, there are legal protections in place for former offenders. The Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms, which applies to both private and public entities in Quebec, forbids discrimination, stating:

“No one may dismiss, refuse to hire or otherwise penalize a person in his employment owing to the mere fact that he was convicted of a penal or criminal offence, if the offence was in no way connected with the employment or if the person has obtained a pardon for the offence.”

The question at the end of the day is does criminal rehabilitation work?

*Eve, who served four months for conspiracy to traffic narcotics and has since been pardoned, thinks that likelihood of rehabilitation depends a lot on the character of the offender and that the system is ineffective in determining who is a danger. She believes that Karla Homolka got off too lightly but accepts it because it resulted in Paul Bernardo’s life sentence. Though she pities Homolka’s children, Eve thinks that like any pedophile, Homolka’s crimes mean she’s not entitled to her privacy.

Rape, torture, and murder are three of the most heinous crimes there are. Any rate of recidivism for these kinds of crimes is cause for alarm, so while most ex-cons like Eve deserve to have their crimes forgotten, Karla Homolka most certainly does not.

*Name changed for privacy reasons

I hold my fist in the air to represent resistance, to show that together we are stronger, hands ready to fight back against oppression and hate. A raised, clenched fist, is a symbol of support and solidarity with others. It expresses power, strength, unity, and defiance.

Fists for freedom! Revolution is now, things must change with a heavy hand. The fist salute dates back to ancient Assyria. It was then and still is a symbol of resistance in the face of violence.

It was used widely in the Black Panther movement, Anarchist and Communist groups, labor unions, civil rights activists, leftists, and other subversive anti-establishment groups that challenge the status quo.

Food Not Bombs uses a purple fist with a carrot in it as their logo. Protesters against Trump’s order to ban immigrants from Muslim countries have also used the fist as a symbol of HELL NO!

Even though the fist is a popular visual signifier of defiance and solidarity, Angela Davis did not throw up her fist at the Women’s March on Washington DC as she did famously during the Black Panther movement of the 60s. She knew that women were holding signs with words that were to heavy to carry the real weight: Black Lives Matter.

Donald Trump decided to throw up his disgusting tiny little limp fist during his inauguration speech and I almost puked. This world appropriates everything, the same thing happened with the swastika.

The fist in the air is meant to be a genuine political statement and not an emogii, not something trivial. This is not a peace sign or smiley face, it is the symbol of a revolt.

American runners John Carlos and Tommy Smith (both people of color) raised their fists in an iconic stance during the medal ceremony at the 1968 Olympic games. It was a poignant salute to civil rights and a bold stance against racism in sports and beyond.

The co-opting of the raised fist as a patriotic symbol is ridiculous. It is ironic when politicians use it, since it is really about fighting white men in suits. Bernie Sanders raised his fist, Gloria Steinem raised hers, so many white people trying to be progressive and intersectional are actually just appropriating and acting like fucking saviors.

We need to stand in solidarity but understand we are different. We have not suffered like the people we raise our fist too. Our struggle must be to dismantle white supremacy and band together, organize and resist. We need to lift up those who have been discriminated against. Communicate resistance now!

The raised fist does not mean aggression or dominance. It is the power of the people united. The manifestation of physical strength.

I carry a rubber fist with me at Pride parades and protests because it is controversial. The fist gets more attention than the flowers in my hair or the glitter on my lips. A giant flopping dildo fist. It’s heavy. I feel like I was going to dislocate my pinky finger just flailing it around. It is an extension of my own proud and filthy fist of fury.

During the Pride parade I always extend the fist so people can fist bump it, which is always a crowd pleaser, especially with little kids, they have no idea. I love when people react to it, like holy shit is that a fist? Yes, it is. Her name is Ivana Punishu.

I bought the fist on Valentine’s day with a good friend of mine. It was in the clearance bin because the package had been cracked, score! We took it home and put fake tattoos all over it. Years later it is still the funniest and most shocking thing I own. I love bringing it out in public as a conversation starter.

Fisting as a sex act is an oddity of the porn world that most of us have rarely experienced in real life. Not all lesbians go elbow deep in each other as one might imagine.

There are safe ways to practice the art of fisting which involve stretching and relaxing, there are certain positions the hand must be in, and definitely a lot of lubrication. I have only done that once, and it was crazy. Not anything I would want to do again to be honest with you.

My gynecologist was definitely perplexed. So I carry the rubber fist to symbolize not only the freedom fist of solidarity but for the disenfranchised and used porn stars, the people who do what they want in bed and explore the depths of each others bodies, the ones who push their own limits and challenge what society accepts as normal, and all that is taboo.

Fisting is about love and trust, a deep bond not to be taken lightly.

Drawing hands is so hard. The intricate bends and puffy parts, the scars and wrinkles, the perfect lighting, strange contortions and artist license. In art a fist represents so much. In life you can bump fists, a popular greeting, or you can throw your fist in the air in protest. Fighters and rioters , olympians and bros, and people at rap shows all throw the fist in the air. Punching at the invisible barbed wire fence over head, reaching toward a god that does not exist. Thrusting through the cold air overhead the fist stands above proudly, regal, and beautiful.

Featured in the Washington Post: Inaguration Day

Fists of fury wild eyed wonderful. Bare knuckle bruiser, fighting, scrapping, pounding, heavy handed hard hitter, smack, and pummel into smithereens. A boxer with fists taped in puffy red gloves, protective mits to ease the blow, lessen the chance of breaking a hand or a face, cracking a skull, causing death or even worse- disgrace.

I want my fists to come in peace. Kind hands, hands reaching out with food and love, hands that caress smooth skin on warm summer sundress afternoons, they pet cats and scratch dogs behind the ear.

Callused, covered in scales, double jointed, strange hands, big hands, pleasure tentacles, appendages that really get the job done, hands that craft things, hands that make art, and love. My hands hold other hands, clenching at flowers and carrots, reaching up to the sky with honor and dignity.

Throw your fist in the air because you care. It matters.

On June 1st, 2017, Premier Philippe Couillard announced that the time has come to reopen the constitutional debate in Quebec. The response across much of Quebec and Canada was: WHY?

As it turns out, the announcement is merely a confirmation of a promise Couillard made in 2013 when running for leadership of the province. Back then he boldly said he planned to get Quebec to sign the constitution by Canada’s 150th anniversary. As it stands, Quebec has never signed the Canadian constitution. In order to understand why, we need to go back in time.

(The story is a long one, so apologies to any history buffs who feel that vital information is missing.)

Before 1982, Canada’s constitution remained in London and only the British government could amend it. However, the act of getting permission from Great Britain became a purely symbolic act as Canada and other former British colonies asserted their independence. All Canada had to do was ask the British to amend their constitution and the crown would rubber stamp their request. Nonetheless, in the late 1970s and early 80s, Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau, father of our current prime minister, came up with a plan to bring Canada’s constitution home.

Trudeau’s plan consisted of repatriating the constitution, modifying it by entrenching his charter of rights, what we now know as the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and establishing an amendment formula. In order to do so, he got provincial leaders together, one of whom was the father of the Quebec Sovereigntist movement, René Lévesque.

The goal was to get the provinces to agree to Trudeau’s plan. At the same time, the Prime Minister put the question of what was allowed to the Supreme Court in a case we now know as the Patriation Reference.

The Supreme Court had to answer many questions, but the main one was whether Ottawa was bound by law to get the consent of the provinces to amend the constitution. The Court said no.

Quebec wanted recognition of itself as a distinct society, a veto over constitutional amendments, as well as an opt out clause that would allow provinces an out of certain aspects of the constitution with some kind of compensation so they would not have to pay for any federal actions that were not in their interests. Lévesque and Quebec were denied, and the constitution was repatriated and entrenched without Quebec’s consent.

Two more attempts were made to get Quebec to sign the constitution, but both failed. As it has never consented to the current constitution, Quebec remains bound by it only because it remains part of Canada.

With Couillard’s announcement came the release of a two hundred page document outlining his government’s vision for Quebec and its place in Canada. The document cannot be called a plan because it sets no timeline for Quebec to sign and no step by step procedure his government would want to use.

The document has a lot of words, but says nothing of value.

It asserts the Quebecois identity as “our way of being Canadian” but when it comes to identifying the people of Quebec, the text limits them to four groups: French speakers, English speakers and the First Nations and Inuit. Allophones such as the Jews, the Greeks, the Italians, Eastern Europeans and the Asian communities who helped to build Quebec are almost completely left out.

The only time Allophones are mentioned in the text is in the context of “interculturalism” and “integration” which, when put together, sound dangerously like assimilation. Since Quebec policy treats Allophones as potential Francophones by making their children go to French school, this is hardly surprising. The text also fails to address the growing problem of Xenophobia in Quebec, which begs the question as to whether the document’s definition of the English Speaking Quebecois refers exclusively to white English-speakers in the province.

What Couillard’s document does do is reiterate what Quebec wants from a relationship with Canada as party to the constitution:

  • Recognition of the Quebec Nation
  • Respect for Quebec’s areas of jurisdiction
  • Autonomy
  • Flexibility and asymmetry
  • Cooperation and administrative agreements
  • Shared institutions

This is all sealed together with the assertion that Quebec’s “full and complete participation in Canada” must come from a “concrete and meaningful recognition” of the province as “the only predominantly French-speaking state in North America and as such, heir to a rich and unique culture that must be protected, supported, and developed.”

Couillard’s plan to reopen the constitutional debate has been met with mixed feelings.

Bloc Québecois leader Martine Ouellet acknowledges that it’s a political move but welcomes it as an opportunity to reopen discussions about Quebec sovereignty. Though the Parti Québecois has decided to put aside the issue of sovereignty for the time being, leader Jean-François Lisée commended Couillard for acknowledging the need to address Quebec’s place within Canada. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has more or less said it’s not a topic to be reopened, while Amir Khadir, an MNA for Québec Solidaire, claims it’s a ploy by the Couillard government to deflect attention from the scandals surrounding the Premier and his party.

It is Khadir’s interpretation of Couillard’s move that seems the most plausible. A simple Google search of Couillard’s name with the word “scandal” will reveal much about the shortcomings of his government. There is everything from the arrest of deputy-premier Nathalie Normandeau for corruption, to Quebec Health Minister Gaetan Barrette’s mismanagement of our health care system and Barrette’s defensive victim-blaming, to the police surveillance scandal, to the Bombardier executive bonus scandal available to learn about online. With his government up for reelection next year, there is much Couillard needs to deflect attention from.

Let’s not take the bait, and keep our eyes where they belong: not on a can of worms that should not be opened, but on the government holding the can opener.

When I think of the word pride I automatically think of the LGBTQ community, I think of the Stonewall activists, I think of my gay, lesbian, transgender and queer warriors that have paved the rainbow brick road for me to love as I see fit. The stone dykes and sweet twinks who have danced and marched to overcome stigma. These sparkly strong freedom and equality yearning hearts beating broken down by a society meant to be straight and white. The fallen brothers and sisters who have been left dead in dumpsters due to crimes of hate.

Denial of rights and basic necessities or even your life due to who you take to bed at night or which bathroom you use? There is nothing easy about this life. How can anybody accuse someone of choosing to be tortured or forcing physically healthy people into cruel, painful conversion therapy to normalize them.

I can’t believe in some ways we have come so far but still trans women of color die by the handfuls each week. Still LGBTQ youth are targeted, still people cannot even take a piss safely. If we can pee in peace we can be in peace.

Pride is a word that has been appropriated by a disenfranchised community of misfits and perfectly fits where hearts and not parts are what matters, love is love is love is lovely. Pride is seeing the Gay Straight Alliance that you helped start in high school with your friends (because there wasn’t one) march in the Pride parade. Pride is knowing that a silly little club is actually a safe place that saves lives. Pride is knowing two trans women that needed to be there.

I know that I am meant to be part of great things. I am proud that I can be part of things that help others. My pride is in my community. We promote visibility, self-affirmation, dignity, accessibility, and freedom from the binding of heteronormativity.


Pride is standing up for what you believe in, it is not backing down when faced with unjust adversity. I will not live in a world where being honest with yourself and simply telling the truth is impossible.

Censorship and evil gender expectations within a racist capitalist system of oppression that dates back to the dawn of government. Pride is a celebration of diversity. Pride should be about love and not about hate.

Many groups fight for their proper slice of humanity. Pride can be used to describe the Native Americans at Standing Rock, being beat down for protecting the water. We should all have more pride in our Earth.

Pride is a single mother surviving and making sure her children are safe and warm. Pride is the immigrant family who didn’t stand down when the brick was thrown through their business, they have seen a lot worse. Pride is connected to culture and struggle, to diaspora and overcoming oppression.

Black Pride is a movement encouraging people to take pride in being black, Asian pride is a positive stance on being Asian, and White Pride is a slogan used by white supremacists, neo-nazis,and racists.

Isn’t it interesting when pride becomes one of those mortal sins that everyone with Christian guilt is so afraid of? Good ol’ american pride is always taken too far, these are the same folks who voted for trump (I am purposefully not capitalizing his name and spell check gives it a pass because trump is a real word).

The American dream is exclusive to those who came here willingly. The American dream excludes those bonded by slavery, those who were raped and pillaged, their hopes and dreams burned to the ground.

White is not something to be proud of. I am proud of my Polish, Irish and Scottish roots for sure, but not proud of what the color my skin represents. Raping Natives of their land and stealing others from their native lands and forcing them into slavery, and then a history of oppressive behavior and supremacy, nah, no pride in that ,bro.

I was always taught to be proud of myself and my accomplishments, but also to practice humility and be humble. The spotlight needs to shine on others once in awhile, but bask in it when the heat is on your face.

Praising and supporting others is crucial. We need each other to survive. Love and a deeper connection to all humanity is the only answer. I am proud to be pansexual, I used to be bisexual but not I do not believe in the gender binary, hearts not parts!

Last year I went on a adventure alone to California. I couch surfed and then eventually ended up at San Francisco PRIDE. It was magical, so much beauty and talent, but I was missing something, MY FRIENDS!

Pride is about lifting each other up and feeding off of the positivity of the ones you love. Pride was dead inside, it was cold without the warm embrace of my people. Pride means standing up with and for others. It means taking off your hat to a diverse and ticking world.

I am pissed that the Buffalo Pride celebration is going to cost $10 to get into. This festival was always free, then last year it was $5, now this? I do not understand how capitalism and gentrification always ooze in and taint the fun. A reminder that we have so much more to fight.

This festival is now not all inclusive. It is a direct disrespect to the poor, to those who already lack in privilege. So lets take the streets!

Get ready for the party, I have 5 shows this week. My boobs are going to be sore from all the tassel revolutions.

I love riding my trike through the sea of bliss. A safe place in a scary world. Pride weekend is like Christmas only better, I love everything that this time represents, rainbow flags and smiling fags, dykes on bikes and queers with booty shirts, unicorns and drag queens, trans men and non binary beauties. This is the time to let your freak flag show.

There will be the haters saying we will go to hell, but I bet hell has a better DJ anyways. There is no conversion therapy here, only a celebration of what makes us unique and the differences that connect and suppress us. Even if it’s sunny this parade always gets rained on, which is fine because we love rainbows.